For an interesting and recent discussion of the notion of “special contributions” see the Full Court decision of Hoffman & Hoffman  FamCAFC 92.
FM Brewster as he then was ordered an equal division of property in a pool of about $10m after the parties’ 36 year cohabitation.
In so doing, His Honour declined to accept any principle of special contributions.
The husband had asserted that his special skills and entrepreneurial flair were instrumental in the parties having the property they did at trial.
In dismissing the appeal the Full Court bench of Faulks DCJ, Murphy J and Watts J rejected the notion that there was a binding principle of law relating to “special contributions” or that there was any legitimate guideline in respect of such contributions. Further that the nature of the category of contributions asserted by the husband was not of itself relevant but must be considered as with all other contributions made by each of the parties.
The Full Court held that “Read as a whole his Honour’s reasons reflect a proper consideration of all matters relevant to the exercise of his Honour’s wide discretion insofar as it specifically relates to contributions”.